The neurogenetics and epigenetics research group studies the relationship between genetic changes and features of dementia and related disorders. We also examine lifestyle and epigenetic factors in these diseases.
Our team examines the genetic and epigenetic influences in neurodegenerative diseases. Our research involves the study of genetic variants in specific genes that have been implicated in sporadic and heritable forms of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.
We work closely with other members of the ForeFront Ageing and Neurodegeneration team, using bioinformatics and next-generation sequencing to identify and investigate the role of genetic mutations in patients with neurodegenerative disorders. We focus on understanding how these mutations cause or increase the risk of disease so that we can work towards better treatment strategies.
Epigenetics involves the study of other influences on gene expression that are not caused by a change in an individual’s genetic code. These effects, however, can still have an impact on whether a gene is switched on or off and thus, are critically important for many normal cellular processes. Certain epigenetic changes have also been implicated in a variety of diseases.
Our epigenetics research is focused on examining the effects of certain lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and other modifiable risk factors on the expression of particular genes implicated in dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders.
By better understanding the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms involved in neurodegenerative diseases, we hope to reverse the effects through preventative lifestyle changes and/or targeted treatment strategies.